Have you ever wondered what life in Nottingham was like 100 years ago? 200 years ago? Or even 300 years ago? If you’ve ever been curious as to how people lived, brought up children or shopped, you can’t go past a visit to the Museum of Nottingham Life.
The museum is located in Brewhouse Yard, just at the base of Castle Rock. The collection is housed in five cottages that date all the way back to the 17th Century and was once the location of 20 houses. Now, these 5 remaining houses host the museum plus displays and depictions of shops and rooms of the Victorian era. Some of the volunteer staff even dress up in period costume to enchance your experience of Nottingham life!
Image: Museum of Nottingham Life
Below are some of the most interesting displays and exhibits housed at the museum.
Children may be interested to learn about what sort of toys their peers played with in days gone by. You can view a large collection of toys from various eras and parents might even see something from their own childhood, or that of their parents and grandparents. The museum houses a large collection of dolls that were donated by a local Nottingham resident in 2003.
Rock Cottage and Growing Up In Nottingham
Rock Cottage is another area of the museum that may prove interesting for children, who can learn about childhood life over four different eras – Victorian times, between the two world wars from 1918 to 1939, post-war from 1950 to 1970 and modern times. Rock Cottage houses the ‘Growing Up In Nottingham’, an exhibit depicts life for children during these times and is an opportunity for children to compare what life was like then and now in terms of school, home life, leisure and even work, given it wasn’t uncommon for earlier generations to leave school much earlier than today.
Rock Cottage houses a huge range of objects, artefacts and costumes from each of the periods, and even depicts life in a Victorian school, which you can read more about below.
The Victorian Schoolroom
The Victorian Schoolroom is definitely one of the highlights of the museum. It shows what life was like for schoolchildren during the Victorian era and what a classroom would have looked like back then. Children and parents can even have a go at writing on the old fashioned slate.
Being a child back in the Victorian era could be tough, as the Victorian home shows, with several children having to share a single room. You can have a look through the cupboards and see what life in the house would have been like.
The museum has a display of replica shops that include the green grocers and pharmacy and highlight what the shopping experience used to be like.
Image: Museum of Nottingham Life
Caves at the museum
Behind the museum and within Castle Rock is a system of man-made caves that is open to the public. Visitors can wander through the caves that have been used for various purposes, including storage, trade, as air raid shelters and cooking. The caves have wheelchair access.
Entry to the Museum of Nottingham Life is just £2.50 and free for children under 5! It’s a fascinating insight into how life in Nottingham has evolved over the years and a wonderful way to step into the past.
Essential information The Museum of Nottingham Life
Address: Castle Boulevard, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, NG7 1FB
Phone: 0115 876 1400
Opening hours: Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays 12pm to 4pm (last entry at 3:30pm)
Cost of entry: £2.50 and free for children under 5